Here’s a quick and versatile way to grill a pork tenderloin. I’m marinating mine in teriyaki sauce—not the sticky stuff in a bottle—and then serving it with brown rice noodles, but you could marinate it or baste it with any flavors you have in mind. The 1″ thick slices are skewered on two long metal skewers (to keep the slices from spinning) and quickly grilled over direct heat. The meat chunks could be further cut after grilling—sliced or pulled—or served in the large chunks, depending on how you want to eat them. I sliced the large chunks in half, just to make them easier to eat. I had some roasted bell peppers in the freezer that I heated and sliced, and I grilled a few onions to complete the dish.
I made the traditional teriyaki sauce without any extra sugar. There is plenty of sugar in the mirin, a sweetened rice wine. I’ve always disliked what has passed for teriyaki sauce, even before I got diabetes, because it was just too sweet for my taste, kind of like those bottled barbecue sauces that hide the flavor of grilled meats. Traditional teriyaki has just the right sweetness to complement whatever meat you use it with. I did add garlic and ginger to the sauce, which some purists might object to, but we like those flavors very much, and the three basics in the sauce—soy sauce, mirin, and sake—held their own just fine.
Remember not to throw out the marinade, but to boil it for a few minutes to serve as the final sauce.
Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin
Allow several hours for marinating the pork tenderloin chunks, plus time to set up the grill.
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) soy sauce
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) mirin
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) sake
- 1 tablespoon grated garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 pork tenderloin, sliced in 1″ thick slices
- Mix the teriyaki ingredients and place in a large zip top bag with the pork tenderloin slices. Marinate for about 2-4 hours.
- Lift out meat slices and pour remaining marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 3 minutes. You could cook it longer to reduce it for a glaze, but I wanted to use it as a sauce for the meat, vegetables, and noodles.
- Skewer the meat slices on two metal skewers to keep the slices from spinning as you turn it on the grill. It will kind of look like you have reconstructed the tenderloin on the skewers. You don’t need to have space between the slices, but you could if you want them browned on all sides, in which case you might want to use more skewers.
- Set up the grill for medium-high direct heat, about 400°.
- Oil the cooking grate and grill the skewered pork on all sides until nicely browned. We eat our tenderloins a little pink, but you can cook them as long as you desire. Remove the cooked meat to a platter and rest, covered, for a few minutes before serving.
I christened the Weber® Wok I got at the end of last season’s grilling period with beef and broccoli. Good choice. It was really quick and really good. In hindsight, I would make one significant change to how I cooked the beef, because the grill cooks so much hotter than the indoor stovetop. I’ll add a note in the recipe on how to do that better.
Toss all with marinade
Whether you’re cooking such a dish indoors or on the grill, having all the ingredients ready and at hand is important, so that nothing is overcooked while you’re fumbling for the next ingredient. I used marinated flank steak strips for the beef, but you could also use skirt steak or sirloin. I forgot to weigh or measure the mushrooms and broccoli, but have a pretty good idea of how much I used.
I chose to cook the vegetables first, so they wouldn’t cause the meat to be overdone as the broccoli cooked. When the meat was done (in a virtual minute) the vegetables were just tossed back in to reheat with the remaining sauce.
Beef and Broccoli on the Grill
- 1/2-3/4 lb flank steak cut across grain in thin strips
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (unsweetened)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (see note about marinade)
- 1/2 cup water
- 4-8 tablespoons vegetable oil, depending on the vegetables you use
- 3-4 cups broccoli florets (if you use stems, plan for longer cooking)
- 2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
- salt & pepper
- cooked rice for serving (I used brown basmati)
- Marinate the beef strips for 2-4 hours in the next 6 ingredients—soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, ginger. *Note about marinade: Usually, I like to have the cornstarch in the marinade, which thickens quickly on cooking, but the grill was too blazing hot for that and I think some of the cornstarch burned off right away. I’m suggesting instead that the cornstarch be added to the 1/2 cup water and added after the meat is cooked and the vegetables are tossed back in.
- Prepare grill for direct heat at about 400° using about 60 briquettes in a chimney starter. Spread the ash-covered coals in the center of the grill under the cooking grate no more than two coals high, so they don’t actually touch the bottom of the wok.
- Place the wok in the grill, close the cover, and heat the grill and wok to about 400°. The bottom of the Weber® Wok, a cast iron wok, sits below the grill grate; if you are using a wok of a different material and/or that sits on top of the grate, your cooking times may differ.
- Mushrooms: pour 2 tablespoons oil in the wok, then add the sliced mushrooms and toss for a few minutes. Mushrooms will soak up oil, as you probably know, so you’ll need more for the broccoli.
- Broccoli: pour in up to 2 more tablespoons oil into the wok and add broccoli florets. Toss for a few minutes, then close the grill cover for a 2-3 minutes to cook through. Alternatively, you could place a large lid on the wok itself.
- Scoop out the vegetables and set aside. Wipe out the wok with paper towels, if needed.
- Beef: Add another two tablespoons oil to the wok and allow the grill to reheat. Add the meat and marinade and spread out the meat to cook for 2-3 minutes. Alternately, you could strain the meat and marinade, adding only the meat first and the marinade after it is done.
- Toss in the vegetables and the 1/2 cup water and cornstarch (and the strained marinade if you did that). Toss until the sauce is thickened, which is almost instantaneous.
- Remove to serving bowl and serve over rice.
Don’t leave your wok on the hot grill to burn; remove it to a heatproof space to cool to make cleaning a little easier. I cleaned mine with warm water and kosher salt.
Ted brought back a steelhead trout the last time he was out fishing for walleye on Lake Erie, even though he wants no part of eating salmon or their cousins—he says they’re fishy, but I think he probably just had a bad experience. So, I’m having the steelhead and taking out a small walleye for him—mine on the grill; his baked in the oven.
He skinned the steelhead, so I can’t rely on skin acting as a barrier to sticking on the grill. I’ll have to be careful, making sure the grill is hot and well-oiled, and then watch for that perfect moment to flip. I’m going to use a marinade with soy and brown sugar, so that may add a little layer of protection or it may act like glue—who knows?
But let’s start with the walleye. I’m using a mayonnaise base in which to briefly marinate the fish; then it gets coated with panko bread crumbs. It creates a light crispy coating with a delicate, moist fish inside. The easiest part is that you just bake it, so there’s no messy, splattering oils to clean up afterward.
Here are the two fish after marinating for an hour in the fridge and the walleye with the panko crumbs waiting to go into the oven. You can see how neat the walleye look with the panko pressed in all around; there’s no mayo leaking out:
The walleye only need to bake for about 10-15 minutes in a hot oven or until they start to brown. The steelhead fillets, which are much thinner than a salmon steak, grill up in about 5 minutes and didn’t stick at all today—just don’t try to flip them more than once.
Yes, he likes to eat off those cheap Corelle® plates and I prefer the heavier Fiesta® ones, but I have my eye on new dinnerware that we could both like.
Baked Walleye with Panko
For two fillets:
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
*I don’t like to over season the fish, but you can certainly add your favorite seasonings to the mayo mixture.
- In a glass dish that will hold your fillets without overlapping, spread the mayo mixture over each fillet. Turn and cover the other side.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Panko Crust and Baking
- Preheat oven to 425°; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place about 2 cups unseasoned panko crumbs on a paper towel or in a shallow dish. You could use seasoned crumbs or add seasoning, but I find it unnecessary.
- Carefully place fillets in crumbs, pressing crumbs into the mayo all around. You can’t avoid breading your fingers, but it all works out.
- Place each fillet on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 425° for about 10-15 minutes or until crumbs are browning.
Grilled Steelhead with Honey-Soy Marinade
In the summer, I usually throw together marinades on the run with what’s available, often with orange juice and ginger and soy, but today I borrowed a good recipe from Betty Crocker that is usually made with salmon: “Grilled Salmon with Honey-Soy Marinade.” I changed the preparation a little.
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced or garlic paste
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Place in microwave to melt butter—my microwave button for that runs for 25 seconds.
- Whisk the warmed ingredients to dissolve the brown sugar, then set aside to cool. Do not put a warm marinade on the fish.*
- Pour the room temperature marinade over the fish in a shallow glass dish. Turn to coat.
- Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
- Bring to room temperature before grilling.
- Set up grill for medium-high heat, about 400°; clean grill grate when hot.
- Mop grate generously with olive or vegetable oil just before grilling the fish.
- Place the fillets on the grill; turn after 2-3 minutes with a large, fine-edged turner. Grill for another 2 minutes.
*Leave a small amount of marinade in a separate bowl for basting, if you like.
Yes, I finally found skirt steak at the grocery, so I’m trying out the Serious Eats recipe, mostly because the marinade/salsa looks so tasty. Luckily there are just two of us and the little under-1 lb package will do. Even at that small size, it was $18, though, so I don’t want to make any mistakes.
I made few changes to the salsa:
- I only used dried ancho chiles, 5 of them, instead of the two kinds in the original
- I added two roasted jalapenos from our garden
- I did not use canned chipotle peppers
- I did not have, nor want fish sauce, so I added a 3rd tablespoon of soy sauce
- Neither did I have the coriander seed, so I just skipped that
- And mostly, I didn’t do all the juicing of fresh fruit nor the toasting and grinding of seeds—I didn’t even chop my own cilantro!
I’ll be back later to show how it all worked out on the grill—that’s the part I’m worried about, that cooking with the lid off won’t give me the char I want before the meat’s too done. In the meantime, here’s the sauce, with my variations:
Carne Asada Salsa
See the original recipe here: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2015/09/carne-asada-food-lab-recipe-kenji.html
- 5 whole dried ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
- 2 roasted jalapeno peppers, peeled and seeded
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 6 medium cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup cilantro paste—solves dealing with the disgusting smell of cilantro
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- Kosher salt
- Place dried ancho chilies on a plate and microwave until pliable, about 20-30 seconds. I didn’t know how this would work out, because I only ever reconstitute dried peppers to use in chili or to make enchilada sauce. I always strain the reconstituted, blended chiles, so I was concerned about the pepper skins, but they blended up nicely.
- Transfer to a blender with the rest of the ingredients, except the salt.
- Blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender jar to get all the bits.
- Transfer the salsa to two bowls, one to eat later as a dressing, the other for the marinade.
- Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt to the marinade, dip meat portions in the sauce, then pour all into a sealable bag. Seal and refrigerate for about 3 hours.
- Add salt to taste to the remaining salsa and refrigerate.